Saturday, December 21, 2013

Can Faith in God Help Alleviate Depression?


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Hi Folks, We are a few days from Christmas, spending time with family and
enjoying all whjat Christmas has to offer. This is a one time, yearly occasion.
Most people look forward to Christmas...NOT TRUE.

Statistics show that this is the most depressing time of the year. Isn't that sad?

Please read the following article. It has some great information and some
answers to some questions of "What can be done" to have a Happier Christmas.



                          MERRY CHRISTMAS BIRTHDAY.

By Dr. Mercola

    Can faith in a higher power help you overcome mental illness, the most
common of which is depression? To find out, researchers at McLean hospital, a
psychiatric institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School, asked 159
patients with prominent symptoms of depression how strongly they believed in a

    They also asked how credible the patients thought their treatment was, and
how effective they believed it would be in relieving their symptoms. The
patients’ symptoms were assessed when admitted, and again upon release from
the program.

    Of the participants, 71 percent reported believing in a god or a higher
power to some extent. Those whose belief in a god was stronger, regardless of
the god or religious affiliation (including non-affiliation), were twice as
likely to respond well to the treatment and experiencing better outcomes, such

        Lessening of depression
        Reductions in self-harm
        Increases in psychological well-being (peace of mind, ability to have
       fun, general satisfaction)

    As reported by The Atlantic:

        The researchers point out that people who believed in a god, or were
affiliated with a religion, were also more likely to believe their psychiatric
treatment was credible and to expect positive results.

        It may be, they write, that 'the tendency to have faith in conventional social
constructs' can be generalized both to religion and themedical establishment.
Since other studies have shown that faith in a given treatment is an important
predictor of its effectiveness, that could helpexplain the association with improved
outcomes found here.

The Stigma of Mental Illness Within the Church

    The recent suicide of 27-year-old Matthew Warren, youngest son of Pastor
Rick Warren, founder of the mega-church Saddleback Valley Community Church in
California, brought mental illness back into view for many within the confines
of religion.

    NPR recently featured an interview with journalist and Evangelical Christian
Christine Scheller on the sometimes complicated relationship betweenfaith and
mental illness. Scheller also lost her son to suicide five years ago.

     While the stigma of mental illness does not cling to all denominations, some
churches can tend to marginalize mental health problems and view them as issues
that are best approached by reading the bible or praying.

    In Scheller’s experience, the anti-psychiatry rhetoric used in somechurches can
delay much-needed treatment. When it became clear that Scheller’syounger son

also suffered with depression, she decided to ignore the advice of the church, opting
instead to seek professional help for her son.

        Stigma about mental illness is not unique to the evangelicalcommunity. We
have our own particular ways in which it's stigmatized, but it's a pervasive problem,
she says.

Depressive Thinking Can Go Viral

    In related research published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science,
researchers suggest that certain types of depressive thinking can goviral, spreading
to others living in close proximity. As reported in Time Magazine:

        Although many people see depression as a chemical imbalance in the
brain, scientists say social context and the way you see yourself and the world
can be critical in causing and sustaining the illness... 'Thinkingstyles are a really
important factor in risk for depression,' says the study’slead author Gerald Haeffel,
associate professor of clinical psychology atNotre Dame University. 'How one
thinks about life stress and negative moods isone of the best predictors that we
have of future depression.

    The two thinking styles explored in the study were:

        Rumination; constant brooding or worrying about what might go wrong

    Both of these thinking styles have previously been linked to depression.
But whereas the first places your focus on your negative mood, the other
reflects on your lack of self worth and the consequences of an event. Says
lead researcher Haeffel:

        For example, a person who feels hopeless might lose a job and see it
as a personal failure and a sign that he will never be employable again. A
more resilient person might blame the economy or see the situation as an
opportunity to get a better position.

    The latter, hopelessness, was not found to be contagious, but rumination
was. A suggested reason for this is because hopelessness centers around your
own thoughts and deeply embedded beliefs about yourself, and so therefore
maybe less likely to have a major influence on the way others think about
themselves and their lives. Ruminating and constant brooding, however, which
focuses on all the bad things that might happen and sees the worst in every
situation, is a mode that is more easily spread and mirrored by others.

        Interestingly, depression symptoms themselves were not contagious:

simply having a roommate with symptoms of the disorder did not increase risk
of developing the mental illness. But those who picked up a ruminative style
of thinking from their roommates during the first three months of school had
more than double the number of depressive symptoms of those who either weren’t
exposed to this perspective or didn’t adopt the rumination three months later.

And the risk was magnified if they experienced high levels of stress, Time

Positive Thinking Is Contagious Too!

    Fortunately, the study also found that healthier modes of thinking were equally
contagious, with the capacity to make a roommate adopt a moreoptimistic outlook
as well. More than likely, you didn’t need a study to takenotice of this. Most people
will at some point or another have encounteredsomeone in their life that either made
you feel more positive or negative,simply by spending time with them.

    A question they could not answer, however, was what the determining factor
was that decided which roommate would adopt a thinking style more closely
mirroring that of the other. Why are some people’s thinking styles more likely
to dominate, rather than be influenced?

        Such information could enhance the current findings and contribute to
new ways of treating and preventing depression, Time writes. The results
suggest that depressive thinking styles can still be influenced during young
adulthood so this risk factor can be minimized even if it has already
developed during high school or earlier. Targeting ruminative thinking might
also enhance therapy.

        The therapist could assess if people in the patient’s life are modeling and
providing adaptive cognitive feedback about stress and negativelife events,
says Haeffel. The therapist could then provide those withnegative thinking
styles with information about the contagion effect alongwith training that
would help them identify negative thought patterns andprovide examples of
more adaptive ways of thinking.

The Slow Opening Up to 'Spiritual Science'

    In 1993, only three of the United States' 125 medical schools offered any
sort of course work exploring the area of spirituality and medicine. Today,
over 90 of these medical schools have formal courses where they explore
randomized controlled studies and the effects of spiritual practices on
longevity and health outcomes a sure sign that what was once considered taboo
is beginning to receive the discussion and serious investigation it deserves.

Dr. Larry Dossey has written 11 books primarily focused on consciousness,
spirituality, and the impact of spirituality on your health, including the
book Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine.

        "I think we're opening up," Dossey said when I interviewed him, three
years ago. "I'm sure you remember, about 40 years ago when meditation burst
upon the scene in medicine, it was put down. It was called California Woo woo.

Nobody wanted to have anything to do with it. But now nobody raises an eye
about meditation and yoga, even in medicine. We're in the same place with
spirituality that we were with meditation about 20 years ago. People know you
can't ignore it. The correlation between spiritual practice and health
outcomes is just too strong.

        For example, the data shows that people who follow some sort of
spiritual path in their life live on average seven to 13 years longer than
people who do not follow a spiritual practice... We have a huge spectrum of
data that shows, I think compellingly, that your thoughts really matter when
it comes to getting well."

    Most ancient cultures knew this, and there are few lines dividing spirituality;
the mind, and medicine in these cultures. Ironically, modern science now allows
us to rediscover these ancient truths, which fell by the wayside with the advent
of medical science and its narrow focus on individualparts as opposed to
investigating the connections within the whole. Going backto where we started,
David Rosmarin, the lead researcher of the featured studyin which those with
a stronger faith in God experienced far better treatment
outcomes for their depression, said:

        "Given the prevalence of religious belief in the United States -- more
than 90 percent of the population -- these findings are important in that they
highlight the clinical implications of spiritual life. I hope that this work
will lead to larger studies and increased funding in order to help as many
people as possible."

The Rise of Energy Psychology

    Many people avoid energy psychology as they believe it is an alternative
form of New Age spirituality, yet nothing could be further from the truth. It
is merely an advanced tool that can effectively address some of the
psychological short circuiting that occurs in emotional illnesses. It is not
any competition at all with any religion but merely an effective resource you
can use with whatever spiritual belief you have.

    My favorite technique for this is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT),
which is the largest and most popular version of energy psychology.

    EFT was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, a Stanford engineering
graduate specializing in healing and self-improvement. It’s akin to
acupuncture, which is based on the concept that a vital energy flows through
your body along invisible pathways known as meridians. EFT stimulates
different energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your
fingertips, while simultaneously using custom-made verbal affirmations. This
can be done alone or under the supervision of a qualified therapist. By doing
so, you help your body eliminate emotional scarring and reprogram the way your
body responds to emotional stressors.

 Research Backs the Use of EFT for Depression

    I have been a fan of energy psychology for many years, having witnessed
its effectiveness in my medical practice and in my own personal life. However,
studies have been few and far between as science has been trying to catch up
with clinical experience. That has finally started to change. Several studies

have been published in the last few years, showing just how safe and effective
EFT really is.

    For example, the following three studies show remarkable progress in a
very short amount of time for people with a history of trauma:

        A 2009 study of 16 institutionalized adolescent boys with histories
of physical or psychological abuse showed substantially decreased intensity of
traumatic memories after just ONE session of EFT.

        An EFT study involving 30 moderately to severely depressed college
students was conducted. The depressed students were given four 90-minute EFT
sessions. Students who received EFT showed significantly less depression than
the control group when evaluated three weeks later.

        In a study of 100 veterans with severe PTSD0 (Iraq Vets Stress Project),
after just six one-hour EFT sessions, 90 percent of the veterans had such a
reduction in symptoms that they no longer met the clinical criteriafor PTSD;
60 percent no longer met PTSD criteria after only three EFT sessions. At the
three-month follow-up, the gains remained stable, suggesting lasting and
potentially permanent resolution of the problem.

 Other Lifestyle Changes to Consider for Depression

    I strongly believe that energy psychology is one of the most powerful
tools for resolving emotional issues, and I think strengthening your faith can
be a very important aspect of mental and emotional health as well. The
effectiveness of any energy psychology technique will be significantly
improved if you combine it with the following:

        Dramatically decreasing your consumption of sugar (particularly
fructose), grains, and processed foods. (In addition to being high in sugar
and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can
affect your brain function and mental state, especially artificial

        Getting adequate vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to
depression and affects one in four people.

        Optimizing your vitamin D levels, ideally through regular sun exposure.
Vitamin D is very important for your mood. One study found thatpeople with
the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than
those who had normal levels.

        Getting plenty of animal-based omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are crucial
for good brain function and mental health, and most people don’t get enough
from diet alone. So make sure you take a high-quality omega-3 fat, such as
krill oil.

        Evaluating your salt intake. Sodium deficiency actually creates symptoms
that are very much like those of depression. Make sure you do NOT use
processed salt (regular table salt), however. You’ll want to use an all
natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan salt, which contains more than 80
different micronutrients.

        Getting adequate daily exercise. Exercise is one of the best-kept
secrets to preventing depression.

Thank You Dr. Mercola

  God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.

Larry Nelson
42 S. Sherwood Dr.
Belton, Tx. 76513

Have a great day...unless you have made other plans.

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